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Why Are Countries in Latin America So Happy?  

Why Are Countries in Latin America So Happy?  

In the face of global economic hardships, political tension, and natural disasters, it’s surprising to find that research has identified Latin America is among the happiest regions. Obviously, many people want to know the secret behind this finding.  

Gallup associates completed the study by measuring positive and negative daily experiences. More specifically, the study was done with the objective of bringing some light on why certain countries had such high positivism, even if they were confronted by adversity, violence, inclement weather and bad governments. Nearly 149,000 interviews were conducted with adult participants, from 142 countries in 2016.

Results revealed that Latin American countries took the lead in terms of positive experiences. These covered emotions like laughter, enjoyment and having rest. Similar results for Latin American countries are reported for much of the past decade.   

The report also highlighted other regions that had the highest ratings for negative experiences. These experiences included feelings of anger, stress, and worry. At the top of the list were Uzbekistan, the Philippines, and Norway.   

Findings showed that people from Greece rated stress at  67%. Given the current socioeconomic turmoil in the area, it is evident domestic factors may affect positive emotions.  


A similar conclusion can be drawn from the information obtained in Iraq. The world is aware that it has been a war-ravaged country for quite some time now. It doesn’t come as a surprise that for the 5th time, Iraq topped the negative experience list.   

Below is a summary of other findings from the study:

While measurements like unemployment and GDP help quantify certain aspects of a society’s health, virtually no macro-level data exists on the emotional state of a country.

It’s important to get clues on the emotional states of people and why it matters to the entire world.  Did you know 70% of human behavior is based on emotions – not reasoning? More than 70% of people worldwide, smiled, experienced a lot of enjoyment or laughed a lot.  It seems the secret behind Latin American countries being so happy, partly reflect their cultural tendency to focus on life’s positives. Like any other report, they analyzed and factored in elements of bias that may have impacted on results.  

The Gallup 2017 Global Emotions Report is in its third year and has proven useful. It offers global leaders, economists and political scientists insights into people’s feelings and behaviors, telling them more about their society’s health and future than traditional economic measures. By measuring life’s intangibles, feelings and emotions, it gives readers a picture of the well-being of their countries and quantifies, ‘What makes life worth living.’  

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